Reliquary Bust of Saint Juliana

Artist: Circle of Giovanni di Bartolo (Italian, active 1364–1404)

Date: ca. 1376

Culture: Italian

Medium: Copper, gilding, gesso, and tempera paint

Dimensions: Overall: 11 1/16 x 9 x 8 3/8 in. (28.1 x 22.9 x 21.3 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1961

Accession Number: 61.266


The band along the lower edge of the bust is inscribed, on the front: [C]APUD SANTE IULIANE [head of St. Juliana], and, on the back: ROMA. A. D[OMINO]. GUILLE[LMO] [Rome, year of Our Lord, William]. In 1376, the skull of Saint Juliana, the gift of the brothers of San Domenico to the Perugian convent dedicated to the saint, was carried in procession and received by Abbess Gabriella. This beguiling image, perhaps commissioned by the "William" named in the inscription, was placed in an elaborate tabernacle, where it remained until the late nineteenth century.